Five Principles to Accomplishing Life… and Homeschooling

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I’m so excited to be participating in my very first “31 Days” series! All this month, join me every week day as I write about the place that we’re in: 31 Days of Classical Homeschooling in a Large Family!

On Tuesday, I talked a little bit about how I schedule our homeschooling day. On Wednesday, I gave you a peek into my housekeeping habits. Today, I’m going to share with you five principles that help me continue on and accomplish something productive even when it feels as though the entire day has been shot down.

Day 3

 

#1- Stop… and focus

There are so many women who find themselves trapped into the cycle of ‘multitasking”. Over the last several years, I have come to absolutely hate this term, and the philosophy of life that follows it. There have been studies that show you can actually accomplish more if you multitask less. Instead of trying to teach, clean, cook, study, disciple, and relax all at the same time, stop. Focus on what you need to be doing. That may mean that you need to focus on a heart issue instead of addition facts for this ten minutes you find yourself present in. If so, stop. Focus. Give the issue at hand your full attention. Then move onto the next issue. Don’t try to clean and cook and read all at one time. Clean. Then cook. Then read. Your quality of work will improve, your stress level will go down, and you will actually be able to enjoy what you’re doing in this very moment. You may initially find that you can cram every moment full of everything anymore, but that’s really a good thing. It leads you to our next principle….

#2- Weed out the junk.

The idea that we have to accomplish every single thing every single day is a viscous lie. Let me tell you a secret, dear sister: you are not a bad mom if your floors only get mopped when they are sticky instead of every day. You’re not a bad mother if you don’t spend two hours making everyone’s beds in the morning. You’re not a bad mom if it takes you two weeks to get through a chapter of a book. Part of living in the moment, and accomplishing anything worth talking about it the ability to focus in and do what you do… well. You don’t have to take stunning photos, scrapbook, homeschool, blog, clean, cook, bake cookies and cupcakes, and make your own soap to be a worthwhile wife and mom. You simply need to love your family and be available. You need to be able to do what you love and learn what you need. You don’t have to teach Latin, Greek, and Spanish in one school year to be a good homeschool teacher. Your child doesn’t have to do 500 math problems to learn the 9’s times table perfectly. Teach what is necessary and leave out all the extra junk.

#3- Find your bubble.

Every single human being on the face of this earth should have their very own bubble. A place where they can retreat to for five minutes to completely block out the distractions and chaos. You don’t have quiet moments unless you make them, but they are oh-so-important to your sanity! Seek out your bubble… the place where you can close your eyes, pray, restart your mind, and refocus your attitude… and start teaching your children today to respect your bubble when you’re in it. Better yet, teach your children the principle of a restful five minutes in their very own bubble, and make your days that much smoother!

#4- Take care of yourself.

This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to let yourself and your needs slip to the wayside when your home is full of children hungry for knowledge, food, and attention. Remember to think of yourself: feed yourself at meal times. Rest during quiet times. Sleep, and protect your bedtime and rising time jealously. {For heaven’s sake… get some sleep!} Get some fresh air. Soak in some sunshine. Read a good book just for the fun of it. You have to refuel and re-energize your body and mind if you want to be able to tend to your children. Even better, teach your children to tend to themselves while you do it for yourself! Then, you can help break the cycle of women who abuse themselves trying to be the perfect wife and mom before your daughter is stuck in the cycle.

#5- Do it… now, not later.

One area I’ve always struggled in: putting off something that takes almost no time to complete! Make it a habit that whenever you see something that needs doing, that you stop and do it now. This applies to everything. Working through your math lesson plans and realize that your child doesn’t know how to do a calculation that comes up? Don’t leave it until later. Grab a sheet of paper and teach him how to do it real quick. Print out a worksheet to give them practice. Download a song that walks them through the steps. Then, instead of taking up an entire teaching day, you’ve solved the problem and moved on. Making supper and realize that there’s mystery fruit in your fridge? Don’t leave it… do it now. Grab a paper towel, toss it, Windex it, and move on. So much seems like such a huge issue when it takes just a few moments to complete!

And bonus wisdom from someone much wiser than I:

One of my absolute favorite quotes in the entire world is “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” {Teddy Roosevelt} It’s something that I try to teach my children, my nephews and nieces, well… I’ve probably quoted it to just about everyone I’ve ever come into contact with. Remember that you are doing work that’s worth doing, and it deserves hard work and dedication. Don’t be afraid of the work… be excited about the results!

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